Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Gamma Ray-To the metal!



When a band has been active for a long time there are different roads that they can head in. Some stay the course and do pretty much the same style while others may try reaching out or experimenting with different sounds. Now which one is better depends on the band and exactly what they do. Staying the course isn't anything new to metal because hey it works for Motorhead so it's not a bad option. So what does all this have to do with Gamma Ray and their new release? Quite a bit actually. To their credit this band has certainly been one of the pillars of power metal. Along with the like Helloween, Brainstorm and a few others they helped to develop
and define this whole sub-genre as well be a major influence on a number of up and coming bands. By this point in their career we know to expect the fast, melodic tracks as well as the medium paced outings and we know there is likely to be a layered ballad stuck in there somewhere. That's all fine with me because they have done this in the past and it has worked out. However there is a part of me that hopes that somewhere during the course of this disc that they push a little harder to do something more. I think the challenge that a number of veteran bands face is continuing to find a way to push ahead. For Kai Hansen and his band they excel with the speedy anthem "Shine Forever" and the bouncing yet punchy "Deadlands". They do these kind of songs as good as anyone else. Hell, they probably do it better than anyone going except for maybe Helloween. It's some of the other tracks here that have me using the dreaded "f word", that's right "f" as in filler. The title track sounds like a pale imitation Judas Priest music-wise with lyrics that sound like a pimply faced teen aged metal fan wrote them down on a napkin at Burger King back in 1986 because they thought they sounded like real heavy metal lyrics. "Mother Angel" has a bit more of a backbone behind it but it suffers from more lack of creativity. Ballads can work in power metal and there is no doubt that this band has the talent to do it, but "No need to cry" is mostly a dried out space taker. Now that doesn't mean this isn't an overall decent album because it is. Diehard fans might take to it completely. There are more hits than misses, but after a listen or two it definitely becomes an album where there are songs you want to listen to over and over but there are also tracks where you will be reaching for the skip button because one or two plays will have been more than enough.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I really liked Insanity and Genius, Heading for Tomorrow and Land of the Free, but not so much anything else. I tried listening to their last 3 or 4 and they just left me flat.

1:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cool rundown... this review gives me insight as what to expect before I give this new Gamma Ray a Metal whirl.

The "filler songs" wig me out too... there should be compilation CD's made of just "Greatest Metal Filler Songs". You know what? They probably would sell because of the damn intrigue.


9:18 PM  

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